Facebook for Journalists

Social Media

I just finished reading the thought-provoking piece “Meet Facebook’s Journalist Ambassador (Yes, We Said Ambassador)” on Fast Company. The article introduces 25-year-old Vadim Lavrusik, who is now the Journalist Ambassador for Facebook. I didn’t really have high hopes for the piece—and was pleasantly surprised—but two things jumped out at me:

“Especially for us print folks, we’re used to hiding behind our byline,” he says. But now that everyone can publish, a newspaper’s brand-name alone doesn’t guarantee credibility. Savvy readers will follow up, ask questions, tweet criticism, and send updates. “The conversation that takes place after the publication is just as much a part of that process.”

I think this reader connectivity is something journalists have been wanting—at least on some level—for years. It’s tough to spend days, even weeks, on a piece to send it out into the world and hear nothing. Nothing at all. All forms of social media, including Facebook, present an easy way for readers to respond to piece.

Fan pages for writers are a Goldie-Locks compromise between lying in bed with a source as a friend but still keeping them within shouting distance, should they have something worth saying.

I have always thought fan pages were for the likes of Justin Bieber, but after reading this, I’m seriously considering it. I have to admit that I started my Facebook account when I was a less-than-professional, 17-year-old high school senior. The idea of using it for any professional purpose is a little nerve-wracking. Maybe a fan page is a nice compromise. Has anyone done this?

Update: I have created a Journalist page on Facebook. “Like” me here.

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